Break out your 2014 calendar, 'cause it's time to start marking more dates with The Walking Dead intel!
The final eight episodes of Season 4 started airing on Sunday, February 9, but by then the writers were probably already working on scripts for Season 5. There have been no official updates yet — beyond Season 5 premiering in October, as usual — but we can speculate on production, writing, filming, etc., based on what they've done in the past couple of years.
Then again, without the prison in play, and Rick Grimes’ (Andrew Lincoln) whole group on the road, we don’t know where filming might take place for Season 5, which could tweak the usual Atlanta area schedule. Also, AMC has yet to confirm that Season 5 will have 16 episodes, like Season 3 and Season 4. Season 1 had six episodes and Season 2 had 13. You never know how they may want to tweak things, but we’re basing this on an expectation for eight episodes in the fall and eight the following spring, just like the past two seasons.
The schedule could change in significant ways when official announcements are made, but here's a rough idea of what you can at least pencil in for 2014.
• Episode Titles: In the second week of January 2013, former showrunner Glen Mazzara confirmed the episode titles for the second half of Season 3. We had to wait a little longer for intel on the second half of Season 4; we got the title for Episode 9, "After," in late January, then the other titles were issued a bit after that.
• Writing: During Season 4 filming, producers said the writers had been working on scripts since January. Last February 10 (2013), comic book writer/executive producer Robert Kirkman said, “We're on our second week of writing. We’re knee deep in it and we start filming in May.”
• Episode 9: "After," aired February 9
• Episode 10: "Inmates," Sunday, February 16.
• Episode 11: "Claimed," Sunday, February 23.
• Episode 12: "Still," Sunday, March 2.
• Episode 13: "Alone," Sunday, March 9.
• Episode 14: "The Grove," Sunday, March 16.
• Episode 15: "Us," Sunday, March 23.
• Episode 16: "A," The Season 4 finale will air on Sunday, March 30. Last year’s finale aired on March 31.
• Pre-Production?: Based on what they did last year, we may see some early production work by this point. A December 9, 2012, story on TheCitizen.com in Georgia noted that The Walking Dead was planning to return to Senoia, GA for Season 4 filming, and pre-production for the show was expected to begin in March 2013. So maybe that will happen again for Season 5.
• Production: Last year, this is when cast and crew members started to head down South to prep before filming started. According to ComicBook.com, several Season 4 cast and crew members arrived in Georgia on April 23, 2013, and Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon) was reportedly spotted in Peachtree City, GA. Norman also tweeted about driving to Georgia with his cat and shared a post featuring the little guy in his car on April 23. Robert Kirkman also tweeted about the writers being hard at work ... eating. Scott Gimple shared a similar photo on April 24, also showing the writing team at work, although they seemed to still be in L.A. at that point.
• Filming Starts: AMC released a press release, actually back in late February 2013, saying the cast and crew would return to Atlanta on Monday, May 6 to begin production on Season 4. That was the official filming start date spread around the Internet, even though a lot of work had already been going on by that point. If they keep to the same schedule, we’ll guess Season 5 filming could start on Monday, May 5, 2014. But don’t bet the farm on that, it’s just a guess.
• Episode 1 Wraps: Back on May 16, Scott Gimple tweeted that they had wrapped Season 4, Episode 1. David Morrissey told The A.V. Club episodes are usually eight-day shoots and the cast gets the next episode four days into our shoot, "so on that fourth day, we all disappear to our trailer and read the next episode."
• More Filming: All we got at this point. Enjoy your summer!
• Episode 1 Title: On July 1, 2013, TVLine revealed that Season 4, Episode 1 would be titled "30 Days Without an Accident," so hopefully we'll get an official Season 5 premiere title by this point in 2014.
• San Diego Comic-Con: Expect lots of news about Season 5 to come out of Comic-Con International: San Diego, which is scheduled for July 24-27, 2014.
• Premiere Date and Trailer: At this past summer’s Comic-Con, the October 13 premiere date was confirmed and we got that amazing extended trailer with so much intel on the first four episodes.
• DVD Release?: TWD Season 2 was released on DVD on August 28, 2012. TWD Season 3 was released on DVD on August 27, 2013. So it's a fairly safe bet to guess that Season 4 will be released on DVD and Blu-ray in late August 2014. Update: The date has been revealed — Tuesday, August 26.
• Mid-Season Finale Filming: On August 14, 2013, Comicbook.com posted a story about Wizard World Comic Con, which was held the previous weekend in Chicago. Norman Reedus told the audience, “I will say that we just wrapped the mid-season finale last night of The Walking Dead, mind-blowing. Minds are going to blow up, it’s so crazy, it’s so good. We thought last season was real good. This season’s crazy good. It’s nuts, you’ll love it.”
• Filming and spoilers: Just general intel released and more episodes filmed.
• Premiere: Seasons 1, 2, 3, and 4 all premiered in October, and AMC is sticking with the same undead timeframe for Season 5. TWD Season 1 premiered on Halloween 2010. Season 2 kicked off on October 16, 2011. Season 3 premiered on October 14, 2012. Season 4 premiered on Sunday, October 13. No one is forcing us to throw down a Season 5 premiere guess, but we’ll go with Sunday, October 12, 2014. Circle the date now! And uncircle it later, if they don’t go for it.
• Filming Ends: Season 4 finished filming on Friday, November 22, 2013. Scott Gimple tweeted late that night, "That's S4 picture wrap. Thx 2 the amazing crew, cast, writers, producers, casting & post peeps 4 the inspiration, excellence, & fake blood."
If Season 5 keeps to the Season 4 timeframe, expect filming to end in late November 2014. Then rinse, repeat for Season 6!
The Walking Dead returns in February 2014 and airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC. Get more spoilers, updates, news, speculation and other fun stuff at Wetpaint.com/walking-dead.